Governor, lawmakers mislead public on SC’s photo ID law, now under review at Justice Dept.

SC Progressive Network to hold press conference to clear up misunderstanding and to invite public comment

The US Dept. of Justice is now receiving comments on South Carolina’s new photo ID law as it considers whether it abridges the minority vote. The SC Progressive Network will host a press conference at 11:45am on Friday, July 8, in the downstairs lobby of the State House to clear up public misunderstanding stemming from misinformation being repeated by the governor and GOP legislators.

The Network will share with reporters the only attachment supporting the state’s filing: a one-page letter from bill sponsor Rep. Alan Clemmons, who writes that he filed the bill because “It is an unspoken truth in South Carolina that election fraud exists.”

The Network, which for 15 years has been advocating voting rights, is making its case to the Dept. of Justice that our state’s ID law, the nation’s most restrictive, will suppress the vote, especially among seniors and the poor. In South Carolina, a birth certificate is required to get the state-issued card, and the law provides no exceptions, as do similar laws in other states.

It is clear that at least some of the estimated 200,000 registered SC voters who don’t have a photo ID will not be able to vote in the next election because they won’t have their papers in order.

The press conference will include the showing of a brief video clip of Gov. Nikki Haley signing the bill into law, where she defends the law by stating that a photo ID is necessary to buy Sudafed or to get on an airplane. To a reporters’ question about what sorts of ID are acceptable, Rep. Bobby Harrell says, “If you can fly with it (photo ID), you can vote with it.” That simply isn’t true.

At Friday’s press conference, two South Carolina voters will testify that, contrary to Gov. Haley and Rep. Harrell’s assertions, they can buy Sudafed and fly with the IDs they have; what they can’t do is vote in South Carolina.

The Progressive Network is collecting statements from people around the state who are having trouble meeting the state’s new ID requirements and will forward them to the Justice Department. Also, the public may make comments by email to: In the subject line put: “2011-2495: Comment”. Or comments may be faxed to: 202-616-9514.

For more information contact the SC Progressive Network at 803-808-3384 or See background on the photo ID law and video clips of voters disenfranchised by the new law at SC Progressive Network.

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